Starting a flock with a prey-driven dog as a pet.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by missbigelow86, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. missbigelow86

    missbigelow86 New Egg

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    I have a big fenced yard that i'd like to start a little egg-laying flock for the purpose of self-sustaining egg production and just as an enjoyable project for an animal-loving person like myself. I have tried twice to raise chickens. The first time, my dachshund got loose and killed them all. I was devastated. I re-homed him to a home with an elderly woman with no chickens. The second flock was so promising, I had a shepherd that was raised along-side these chicks, but was let out accidentally,into the pen with my hens by my daughter. He instinctively killed them. It broke our hearts. But it didn't discourage us from trying again. I want some good egg-laying hens. I'll even raise a rooster or two. I have all the equipment and housing for them. I would like some encouraging advice from dog owners and those who've made it work with dogs.
     
  2. nzange

    nzange Out Of The Brooder

    I'm interested to see some advice to this one. Our dog obviously would love to eat our new chooks, and we're doing some pretty tough love training with him. I don't think we'll ever get to the point of trusting him with them, so they'll only free-range a bit if he's tied up, but we will keep going and teach him he has to leave them alone.

    Teaching our kids to be vigilant with closing the gate behind them seems to be part of the answer, and not leaving him alone with them also. He is mostly staying away from the coop and run unless we are there, but seems to have got the message he can't go near them after being punished for barking and charging at the run when they made a fuss over something.
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a half doxie but he doesn't try to take on any of the poultry... now our rabbits that is a 'nother story [​IMG] Basically, how do you do it? simple ENSURE the dog has zero access to your birds, treat it like a predator(which they actually are one of the primary ones) so fence properly, secure the coop and area surrounding etc.

    I am fortunate my dogs have all been good with the birds BUT i can never 100% trust them, it's a bit of a double edged sword as my birds are way to accustomed to dogs, i watched a young duck of mine just peck the shih tzu in the head when he sniffed her... that hit home how unafraid they truly are. [​IMG]
     
  4. doop

    doop Out Of The Brooder

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    Trusting your dog with your birds all starts with basic obedience. I have a lab who I started getting him bird crazy (loving to find and chase birds) at 8 weeks old, before I had chickens. We hunt grouse, and ducks constantly. Threre is nothing in this world he'd rather do including eat. That being said it took me 5 minutes to teach him he can't chase chickens, and after a couple days I felt comfortable letting birds free range with him in yard. In fact he started to learn their distress call and when he'd hear it and come running and has chased fox,and coons away. If you want them to be able to roam yard together I suggest getting a good training book, and Caesar's book it helps understand a dogs thinking, and how toget them to respond to you. If you have any questions just ask. P.s. when the chickens are up by the house making a mess on sidewalk I can send him in to chase them back and call him off just by saying o.k.
     
  5. nzange

    nzange Out Of The Brooder

    I have to agree with Going Quackers there. I think there are just some dogs that you will never be able to trust with the chickens though, even with really good training. My husband is brilliant with training very difficult dogs but we still have to be realistic about our dog. He's a mix of breeds, and some of those are somewhat prey/kill based.
     
  6. doop

    doop Out Of The Brooder

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    There maybe a few dogs out there that you might not be able to trust, but I think that if you start from the time they are a pup 99% would learn if you were diligent about your training. My mom volunteered for friends of animals so we always had different dogs around when I was a kid, and most of those could be out around the birds if we were out too. It would take a week or two but most learned.
     
  7. Runawaylobster

    Runawaylobster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two setters and they are bird dogs so it's in their genes to flush game (aka my chickens). I solve the problem by putting an electric
    fence around the coop, and then i alternate who gets to go out so the dogs go out while i'm at work and then it's the chickens turn when i get
    home. It works OK, not ideal but i am still able to maintain the flock.

    The dogs learned about the fence quickly and then after that i pretty much don't have to turn it on, but I still do incase of stray dogs that decide
    to jump the fence.

    I really can't ever trust them because of their breed and it's not their fault... we make do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I suggest following as doop's first post suggested. My dogs are German Pointers and they are high energy and both killed a bird or two but are now settling down into job as flock guardians nicely. I am not an advocate of the keep them separated at all cost system since your daughter or somebody else will leave a gate open again at some future time. Get dog chicken friendly and take it seriously. First concern is getting control over dog.

    I have kept chickens free-range and dogs since the the 1970's and know from experience it can be done with virtually any dog. I have not met the dog which would not work but I have met dog owners that would not let it work.
     
  9. Runawaylobster

    Runawaylobster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't get the option of training rescue dogs from babyhood..... and then introducing them to chickens when they are 5 years old... if we lived in a perfect world it would work out but unfortunately circumstances are not always perfect....
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have taught old dogs new tricks as well. With older dogs you loose a little latitude with additional skills that can be learned but the chicken friendly state can be realized none the less. With older dogs you do not have to go through the jubilant puppy phase. Same dogs I used were also for hunting before and after development of chicken friendly attitude. Hunting usually involved dogs having to kill something that was often a lot tougher than a chicken.


    The world is not perfect but never give up. The term rescue dog is used a lot as an excuse not to put forth serious effort.
     

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